Health and social care partners and Independent Care Home Providers in West Wales are working together to ensure people with COVID-19 are treated with dignity and respect and involved as much as possible in decisions about their care and treatment whether they are in a hospital or care home.
Care homes are a central and essential part of frontline services in West Wales, in particular by ensuring and supporting the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable of the population. Many of our care settings are facing significant challenges and supporting care staff in these settings has never been more important. We recognise that this is a time of great anxiety for families of residents and the care homes who provide such outstanding care throughout this unprecedented time.
Hywel Dda University Health Board and County Councils in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are working together to support care homes and deliver the best possible care to vulnerable people in a timely and appropriate way.
This means a wide range of key workers from doctors, nurses, health care support workers, carers, assistants, cleaners, transport workers, managers and volunteers are all playing their part in planning, advising and providing the care older people need, taking account of their wishes.
Across our communities, we are seeing examples of exemplar working from clinicians supporting and providing direct care in the care home setting. This can involve hospital clinicians collaborating with GPs and community teams and also the transfer of residents into hospital when needed. Technology is also being utilised in many care homes so that they can maintain contact with District Nurses and GPs in a timely manner.
Jill Paterson, Director of Primary, Community and Long Term Care, said: “We are working really hard as a whole Health and Care Community, with the shared goal of providing the best care for residents of Care Homes , preventing further spread of the disease, and protecting the safety of care givers.”
Dr Sion James, Deputy Medical Director at Hywel Dda, added: “General Practice and Community teams across the Health Board are offering continuing and increased support to patients in our care homes. We are working as a team across Health and Social care to provide care for this important vulnerable groups. GP Practices are contacting care homes on a daily basis to ensure that residents are getting the care they need.”
Jake Morgan, Statutory Director of Social Services in Carmarthenshire said: “This is an extraordinarily challenging time for our care workforce who are on the front line dealing with this pandemic. Over the last few weeks we have been able to offer our care homes additional financial support, advice and protective equipment to support them in carrying out their critical role. We will continue to do all we can to support care staff doing a remarkable job in these challenging times.”
Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council, added: “We are working very closely with our Health Board colleagues in ensuring we maintain the required services to our most vulnerable in a safe and timely manner throughout this period. We also thank and acknowledge our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one supporting the health and social care sector in Ceredigion.”
Geriatrician and Consultant Physician at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli Dr Andy Haden, has recently had experience of working closely with a Llanelli care home where a number of residents were affected by COVID-19.
He explained: “In the past few weeks I have been working closely with a care home affected by the disease, as it can be serious in that setting. Myself, Palliative Care consultants and Specialist and General Nurses and Local Authority staff have been supporting people in the Home.
“What has been really important is an individualised approach where we do the right thing for the person affected, and we ask them what their wishes are, of if they cannot speak for themselves, seek help from family or carers. For some people that will mean ensuring they come into the hospital and for others it will be support at the end of their life in their home environment where they are comfortable and cared for with compassion and dignity.”